New Hyundai Sonata turbo N Line review

The Hyundai Sonata N Line is a rebel with a cause. Pitched toward folks who prefer sports sedans over high-riding SUVs, it’s a car with classic appeal.

There’s a waiting list

The car industry has been turned upside down by Covid. Semiconductor shortages, factory closures and shipping delays mean stock is tight and there’s a three-month wait list for the Sonata N-Line.

If you’re not fussy about colours, though, you might be able to pick one up straight away. A waiting list sounds like the car is in huge demand, but the truth is it sells in very modest numbers. That’s a shame because, although the price tag is a sizeable $56,800 on the road, it’s actually pretty good value for money.

Sedans may be unpopular these days but they’re better to drive and better equipped than similarly priced SUVs.

There’s some cool tech on board

The N-Line is the only model in the Sonata range and it comes fully loaded.

There’s a large centre touchscreen and a head-up display that projects key driving data such as speed, navigation and safety alerts on the windscreen.

There’s also a high resolution digital display in front of the driver that includes video feeds of your blind spots, which activate when you put your indicator on.

You can configure the screen to suit your tastes and it glows red when you choose sports mode. Other highlights include a wireless charging pad and a 12-speaker Bose audio system.

The styling isn’t for everyone

The sharp creases and angles of the Sonata aren’t to all tastes, although after a week with one in the driveway you begin to warm to it. At least it’s not boring.

Inside, the styling has a sporty feel. Well-bolstered suede and Nappa leather sports seats are embossed with the N logo that represents Hyundai’s performance division.

The perforated leather sports steering wheel has red stitching and an N logo at its base. It’s also heated, as are the front and outboard rear seats. Rear seat passengers are treated to window blinds, aircon vents and a single USB output. The boot is a decent size and can be opened by swishing a foot under the car.

Safety is top notch

The Sonata has a comprehensive array of driver aids. The auto emergency braking picks up pedestrians and cyclists, the lane-keeping function works smoothly and the blind-spot alerts are better than most. The rear cross-traffic alert will warn you and then hit the brakes if you’re reversing out of a drive-away into passing traffic, while the active cruise can come to a complete stop and take off again in bumper to bumper traffic. The car will also warn you if you start to cross a junction when it’s not safe and sound an alarm if the kids try to open the rear door when traffic is passing.

It’s a fun drive

The Sonata N-Line isn’t an out-and-out performance car like the Hyundai i30N hot hatch but it still has plenty of grunt under the bonnet.

A 2.5-litre turbo puts out 213kW and 422Nm, with a broad band of maximum torque arriving low in the rev range. That makes for brisk acceleration and lusty in-gear performance for overtaking.

The rest of the mechanical package is pretty sound too.

There’s a bit of tugging at the steering wheel when exiting corners under full power but the suspension strikes a good balance between sportiness and refinement.

It feels firmer than you’d expect from a family sedan but it’s never uncomfortable. Sharp steering adds to the enjoyment, while sport mode sharpens the car’s reflexes further.

Originally published as Hyundai Sonata N Line sports sedan review

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